Through his years as a solo artist and as a member of the multi-award-winning groups, The Isaacs, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver and the GRAMMY-nominated Boxcars, John Bowman has become known as a substantial and authentic artist in American roots music for a sound that's pure, powerful and rooted. Now he's releasing his newest recording for Mountain Home Music Company - The Hole, a six-song EP of finely-crafted, heartfelt Country and Bluegrass Gospel. It is now available for pre-order ahead of its September 27 release.
Q: Thank you John for doing this interview with us. It's more than three years since the release of your last album, how have you been? What has been keeping busy in the last three years or so?
The last 3 years have been very busy. I have been traveling the country preaching and singing anywhere they will let me in the door. We've seen many people saved and blessed in our meetings. After 3 years, I decided it was time to record again last November.
Q: Congratulations on the forthcoming release of your new EP "The Hole." Why did you decide to release a 6-song EP rather than the normal 10-song album?
The recording business has changed so much in the last 10 years. Years ago, CD sales were a good source of secondary income for artists. With the digital age, everything has moved to downloads, like iTunes. Also, with the creation of "Sound Exchange" royalties have become digitized. That said, most of my royalties come from singles released to the various media sources. So, I figured I would only cut songs that I would release as singles. This reduces the cost of recording and gives the record company an opportunity to focus on the singles, themselves for promotion.
Q: One of the songs I really enjoy is your take of Skip Ewing's "The Hole." Why did you decide to give your own spin on this somehow obscure Skip Ewing song from the 90s?
Skip Ewing has always been one of my favorite writers. I recorded another song of his on one of my earlier albums, "I Could Not Send You Me." I had "The Hole" on a CD that Skip did that never came out. I always loved the song and had no idea that Randy Travis had recorded it. It's a great message. A lot of folks are wasting a lot of time digging for things that are going to pass away!
Q: On your last album, you did a cover version of Lionel Cartwright's "Let the Hard Times Roll." Have you ever thought of doing an album's worth of inspirational country songs? Personally, I think that would be awesome!
I love Lionel Cartwright! That was one of my favorite songs of his. The company and I have talked briefly about doing a bluegrass album with positive material. So, yes, I'd love to do that.
Q: Another favorite is the ultra-catchy "You Ought've Been There." Tell us more about this song.
This song was written by the Easter Brothers. I had heard a live cut of the song and some other obscure performances. I thought it would be a great song to do live with my banjo. It's a great message too. We need more "Johnny's" getting so excited about Jesus that running the tops of the pews isn't so foreign to other churchgoers!!
Q: In your press release, you mentioned that 5 out of the 6 songs have messages that point us to God. This can't be more true than the touching "I Didn't Drive the Nails." What are your thoughts on this song?
Mark Wheeler wrote and sent me this song 3 years ago when I just had released "Beautiful Ashes." I loved the song so much that I asked him to hold it for me until I recorded again. This song chronologically details Jesus's crucifixion. The hook is that we/I am the reason Jesus died and was crucified. No, we didn't do all those horrible things to Jesus, but He willingly went through them because He knew each of us needed to be saved from our sin.
Q: Another highlight of your new EP is the impeccable playing. Who were some of the players that were involved in this record?
I was very fortunate to have some of the best: Kelly Back on electric guitar, Aubrey Haynie on fiddle and mandolin, Ben Isaacs on bass and harmony vocals, Gordon Mote on piano, Mike Rogers on drums and harmony vocals, and Josh Swift on dobro.
Q: How do you wish these new songs would impact the lives of your listeners?
Any recording that I've ever made has been to glorify God and his son, Jesus. I am the most blessed man in the world. I want the music that I do to be pleasing to Him and the listeners. Most of all, I want the music to bring joy and peace to someone who needs it. I've been all over the country and I come in contact with folks who are going through some tough times. Thank God, many of those people have received Jesus and their lives have been changed forever. That will always be the goal of the music I create.
Pre-order The Hole HERE.